Book Review: LUCKY STIFF by Annelise Ryan

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 05, 2013

Format: 384 pages

ISBN: 9780758272751  

Series: Mattie Winston Mysteries

Origin: Publisher 

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Death Investigator, Mattie Winston, arrives on scene to find she knew this victim from her former career.

More than once, she helped heal this paraplegic man only to find herself bent over his burnt body, collecting evidence in an arson and murder investigation of her former patient, Jack Allen.  

She hadn’t left her last career to help the living due to burnout or the need for a change, she left her career as an operating room nurse because of her former husband.  He is a surgeon in the same hospital, the same OR, who liked to play with their female coworkers while she and he were married.  

Taking in the scene with detective Hurley—a man who she wants and who seems to want her but each has a job that must keep them apart—Mattie learns that Jack Allen had recently struck it big in the local casino, and his jackpot wasn’t kept in a bank.  In fact, it was kept in this burnt out home. Making matters worse, many people knew of his winnings and the large sums of house money leads to an assumption of motive.         

Jack Allen’s open wallet policy only serves to multiply suspects to include neighbors, friends, and a girlfriend—just to start.  However, their suspect list grows to include casino workers, drinking buddies, caregivers, family, and everyone who had been in contact with Jack Allen, since he won the money.  As if this one case isn’t enough to keep the police and medical examiner’s office busy, a floater turns up and something that should have been an easy case turns into something more sinister.  

Meanwhile, Mattie meets up with her ex—who is involved with their real estate agent when Hurley gives her an electrifying kiss, and she’s about to gamble with her future, when her boss becomes suspicious about Mattie and Hurley.

My Take:

In LUCKY STIFF, Annelise Ryan successfully blends mystery, autopsies, and romantic notions into a cozy that you can’t put down!    

Mattie Winston delves deep into death and investigates crime, but she still finds time for the romance she can’t have and the ex she can’t seem to rid herself of.  Mattie’s humor is a way to deal with her increasingly complicated life and competing desires, but she is finding her way through life one disaster at a time. 

A standalone novel, LUCKY STIFF by Annelise Ryan will have you learn crime scene investigation, medical examination, and investigation principles, while keeping you wrapped in her characters personal lives. I’m sure you’ll want to catch this author’s other Mattie Winston titles including, FROZEN STIFF (Kensington 2012), SCARED STIFF (Kensington 2011), and WORKING STIFF (Kensington 2010).


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